3 Ways to Boost Your Caregiving Abilities Long-Distance
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging when there’s distance between you. And per Harvard Health, two-thirds of seniors need help with daily living, meaning caregivers are more in demand than ever. But thanks to technology and all its innovations, there are ways you can care for your loved one without physically being there. Here are three ways to lend your loved one a hand, all thanks to technology.
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Choose the Right Cell Phone and Plan
The perception of some is that seniors can’t learn new things. But older adults have proven that they can be just as adept at navigating technology as younger folks are. In fact, AgingInPlace notes 85 percent of those 65 or older have smartphones. If your loved one doesn’t yet have a smartphone, now is the perfect time to introduce one.
Choose something with a big display and easy navigation, and note some carriers, like Verizon, even offer special pricing for customers ages 55 and up. Wireless plans for seniors come with unlimited data, talk, and text, so keeping in touch can be almost constant—without worrying about overage charges.
Use Smart Assistants for Daily Needs
If reminding your senior loved one about medications, appointments, and check-ins is a challenge, a smart assistant could make a significant impact. Smart or virtual assistants use a speaker or your loved one’s smartphone to answer questions, schedule events, give reminders, and more.
Older adults may also find smart assistants beneficial for daily tasks like checking the weather, finding recipes, or listening to the news. Especially for those with mobility or dexterity challenges, a smart home assistant can prove invaluable. And for the 12.9 percent of older adults with vision trouble, a screen-free tool is crucial.
Top voice-activated smart assistants include options like the Amazon Alexa, Samsung Bixby, Windows Cortana, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri. Depending on the device your loved one has, selecting a smart assistant may be as simple as downloading an app. However, in-home speaker systems are available for most voice tools, too.
Try Smart Camera Systems
Many seniors who live alone are at risk of experiencing falls, especially if they use multiple medications or have cognitive or sensory impairments. Since you can’t be there, it takes a unique approach—and open lines of communication—to figure out a solution.
Preventing falls starts with working alongside your loved one, discussing their feelings and opinions. Enlivant explains it helps if your loved one partakes in physical activity to build strength and balance. Carefully adjusting medications with the help of a physician can also prove beneficial.
But caregivers should also assess the safety of the home and make sure accessibility features are in place. And, for older adults with a significant risk for falls, the ability for caregivers to check in remotely is crucial. By installing cameras in your family member’s home, you can “drop-in” on them to ensure that everything is going well.
Remote monitoring can be challenging to deploy, notes AARP, since navigating the equipment and programs can be hard for both seniors and their remote caregivers. But in-home monitoring can maintain your loved one’s independence and safety, so having a conversation about such tech is vital.
Of course, open communication is the first step in getting your loved one on board with any type of technology addition. Involving them in such decisions and listening to and respecting their opinions will go a long way toward achieving optimal health and safety. But the good news is that smartphones and other new technology can be fun and engaging for seniors, which boosts the odds they’ll want to adapt. Keep things positive, and your results will be as well.
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There is a wealth of information on NHS Website about carers and caring. Below are some links into the site that we hope you will find useful.
When you're caring for carers, who's caring for you?
- Caring for a parent
Watch this video on: caring for a parent at home
- Telling people
Caring responsibilities can make it difficult to maintain friendships or develop new ones. Telling your friends you're a carer is important so they understand and can support you.
- Taking a break
Caring for someone can be a full-time job, but it's essential that you take time out for yourself too. Read our guide to accessing breaks and respite.
- Housing and carers
Do you know your tenancy rights as a carer? Are you aware of all your care at home options? Do you need tips on moving someone around the home?
Carers support groups
Finance and Law
Help claiming benefits, looking after your bank balance and understanding the legal issues of caring.
- Benefits for carers
Directing carers to the benefits that can help them in their caring role
- Benefits for the person you care for
Advice and information on helping the person you look after get the benefits that they are entitled to
- Death and benefits
How your benefits maybe affected after the death of the person you look after and what happens to their benefits
- Managing someone's legal affairs
Advice for when carers find they have to take over the legal affairs of the person they are looking after
- Other benefits
Advice for carers and the people they are looking after on claiming a whole host of other benefits unrelated to their disability or caring
- Personal and household finance
Advice on keeping a tight rein on household and personal finance for carers
- Social fund
- Tax credits
Information on claiming tax credits and whether you might be eligible